Photo by Laurie Asseo.

by Frank Vespe


  1. Disco Chick (12-1) — Mario Serey trainee ran second last out in the Willa on the Move in December; three of her rivals that day, including winner and presumptive favorite here Lady Sabelia, are here.  Has been away more than three months and oddly enough, shows just a single three-furlong work since.  She ran a terrific race in the Willa on the Move and still was no match for Lady Sabelia. Daughter of Jump Start has plenty of early lick to be a forward factor, and she’s run well off the bench before.  Trevor McCarthy will retain the mount aboard a mare that is winless in eight tries against stakes company.
  2. Flattering Bea (20-1) — The good news is that this Crystal Pickett trainee has run some awfully good races in surprising spots, not the least of which was a near-miss second in the ’13 Miss Preakness at 50-1 or a win a year later in the $200,000 Sugar Maple at Charles Town (at 5.40-1).  The bad news: she’s winless in eight tries at this six furlong distance and in six over the Laurel Park strip.  In fact, all three of her stakes wins have been at 6 1/2 or 7 furlongs and around two turns at Charles Town.  Jose Montano’s in to ride from Charles Town, but this isn’t the easiest spot for her to get that winless record turned around.  She’s been off since running third in the Pink Ribbon last September, and her first-off-layoff tries haven’t always been great.
  3. Raging Smoke (15-1) — PA-bred’s lone stakes win to date was against state-bred rivals in June ’14.  In her last two starts, she’s finished behind three of today’s rivals in Lady Sabelia and Disco Chick from the Willa on the Move (when she was fourth) and Sweet On Smokey in the What a Summer (when second).  Notably, none of four to run back from her last has won or finished in the money.  The Michael Salvaggio trainee’s been working forwardly in preparation for this since her What a Summer exertions back in January, and Salvaggio does well enough with horses coming off a break.  Julian Pimentel remains aboard.
  4. Dallas Cowgirl (30-1) — Now here’s a curious case: a five-year-old mare with just 11 career starts, coming in off a layoff, and receiving blinkers for the first time.  The Flint Stites trainee made relatively short work of her conditions, knocking off four wins in seven tries at Charles Town — but she’s winless away from the friendly confines.  Last out – in the Willa on the Move – was a little messy, as she bumped a foe at the start, rushed up to the lead, and then gave way in the drive to be a well-beaten sixth.  Julio Hernandez — with eight wins from 105 starts this year — will ride.
  5. Love Came to Town (5-1) — Say this for the NJ-bred: she’s still improving, and she knows where the wire is.  She crushed the field in the 1 1/16 mile Nellie Morse last out, in early January, and shows three bullet works in the interim.  Trainer Kevin Sleeter is one of nine of similar layoffs in the last five years, and this filly ran second in her lone try off a similar break.  Daughter of Medallist owns five wins and three seconds from her last nine tries, the lone dud having come in Grade 3 company.  None of three rivals from the Nellie Morse to run back has won.  Regular rider Mychal Sanchez remains aboard.
  6. Sweet On Smokey (5-1) – Nothing wrong with what this filly’s done since Claudio Gonzalez claimed her for $12,500 last July: she’s logged four wins, including her first stakes score, and most recently was a more-than-credible fourth, beaten three lengths, in the Grade 2 Barbara Fritchie.  The only horse to run back from the Fritchie, runner-up Clothes Fall Off, was a sharp winner of the Correction at Aqueduct.  This Successful Appeal filly has shown the versatility to stalk or close, and she owns a spotless record at today’s six furlong distance: 4-4-0-0 — to say nothing of three wins in six tries over the strip.  Victor Carrasco remains in the irons.
  7. Court Dancer (3-1) — Rudy Rodriguez trainee, a $40,000 claim last October, has been first or second in four straight and most recently took the Broadway, for NY-breds, last month.  Neither of two rivals from that race to run back has won.  Among her beaten rivals in the Broadway was the hard-hitting 10-time winner Willet, in a strange race in which Court Dancer led through sluggish fractions before finishing up swiftly.  War Chant mare likes to go to the front and figures to be gunning in that direction here.  Note that jockey Angel Arroyo, who’s ridden her twice previously, is named to make the trip from New York for this mount.
  8. Lady Sabelia (6-5) — The class of the field is well drawn outside and figures to have the chance to get the trip she wants.  Robin Graham trainee has the zip to lead if no one else will but is perfectly capable stalking or even closing.  Majestic Warrior mare has won seven of 13 over the strip and seven of 12 at the distance.  She was somewhat of a disappointing third, as the fave, in the G2 Fritchie last out in which she loomed a major threat — and looked the winner — in early stretch but could never get by Dancing House, who won, and she lost second late to Clothes Fall Off, barely holding third over Sweet On Smokey.  That she hadn’t raced in three months may have been an issue that day, and she enters this test with three interim works, including a ridiculously fast half-mile in last Saturday — the fastest of 81 at the distance (“She kind of overdid it herself,” Graham said).  Her last two haven’t been quite up to her very best efforts, so Graham and regular jock Horacio Karamanos will try to turn that around here.


  • Race 7, 4:24 p.m. EDT
    • Fillies and mares, 3yo and up
    • 6 furlongs, $75,000 purse
    • 29th running of a race named for the champion handicap mare of 1962.  She won 17 of 25 career starts, including nine stakes, and earned more than $306,000.
    • Inaugurated at Pimlico in 1988, the race moved to Laurel in 2005.  All 28 of its runnings to date have been contested at six furlongs.
    • 2015 winner: Galiana
    • Stakes record: All Giving, 1:09 2/5, 2010.


  1. Court Dancer (3-1) — Formful runner figures to be on the lead after a half-mile and hope for the best from there.
  2. Lady Sabelia (6-5) — The likely winner on best — but will she deliver her best?  Shortening to six furlongs may help.
  3. Sweet On Smokey (5-1) — Puts spotless record at the distance on the line and must overcome a runner, Lady Sabelia, who nipped her last out.
  4. Love Came to Town (5-1) — Improving sort has five wins, three seconds in her last nine starts — and the lone dud was against graded foes.